The longlist for one of the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime writing accolades – the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, has been announced with debut authors and literary icons vying for the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing award.

Among the incredible crime novels selected, authors Vaseem Khan’s ‘Midnight at Malabar House’, and Imran Mahmood’s ‘I Know What I Saw’ crime thrillers make the longlist along with 16 others.

The award, now in its eighteenth year, is presented by Harrogate International Festivals and recognises the best crime novels published in the UK and Ireland in paperback over the past year.

This year’s longlist takes readers from the decks of a haunted galleon to the claustrophobia of a psychiatric ward, from a small American town shaken by the disappearance of a young girl to the hedonism and danger of London’s Georgian pleasure gardens.

Vaseem Khan, author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels, is hoping to take the prize with his novel ‘Midnight at Malabar House’.

It follows Inspector Persis Wadia, India’s first female police detective in 1950, as she tries to solve the murder of English diplomat Sir James Harriott against the turmoil of a country on the brink of becoming the world’s largest republic.

Imran Mahmood, perhaps best known for the BBC adaptation of his book ‘You Don’t Know Me’, is also in the running for ‘I Know What I Saw’, a tense thriller which sees a homeless former banker witness an impossible murder, forced to confront his own confused memory in order to solve the crime.

The longlist sees a number of previous winners hoping to take home the prize once again. Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2022 Programming Chair Denise Mina will look to snatch her third win for ‘The Less Dead’, as will ‘Rabbit Hole’ author Mark Billingham, who took home the inaugural award in 2005 and again in 2009.

Chris Brookmyre, who won the 2017 prize, is in the running again with ‘The Cut while Blood Ties’ author Brian McGilloway, who was highly commended at last year’s prize, is also longlisted.

Other prize alumni on the 2022 longlist include four-time shortlistees Elly Griffiths with ‘The Night Hawks’ and Mick Herron with ‘Slough House’, as well as previous longlistees Ann Cleeves with ‘The Heron’s Cry’, Erin Kelly with ‘Watch Her Fall’, Imran Mahmood with I Know What I Saw’, Joseph Knox for ‘True Crime Story’, Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s Georgian detective novel ‘Daughters of Night’, Stuart Turton with genre-bending whodunnit ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’, and William Shaw for ‘The Trawlerman’.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2022. Longlisted: Abigail Dean | Anna Bailey | Ann Cleeves | Brian McGilloway | Chris Brookmyre | Denise Mina | Elly Griffiths | Erin Kelly | Imran Mahmood | Joseph Knox | Laura Shepherd Robinson | Mark Billingham | Mick Herron | M.W. Craven | Stuart Turton | Vaseem Khan | Will Dean | William Shaw

While some familiar names have returned again this year to compete, the longlist features a number of authors receiving their first chance at the prize. M.W. Craven receives a nod for Dead Ground, while Vaseem Khan is featured for his novel Midnight at Malabar House, set in the turbulent streets of Bombay in 1950. Incredible debut authors in the running for the award include 2021 New Blood panellist Anna Bailey with her taut novel Tall Bones, and Abigail Dean with bestselling debut Girl A.

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added: “Crime fiction seems to have an enduring popularity with readers, and this year’s longlist is a clear indication as to why.

“Books from iconic writers and impressive debuts demonstrate the wonderful talent working in the genre today – the public have got a hard job ahead of them voting for a shortlist of only six!”

Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, commented: “We are thrilled to announce the 2022 longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, championing the very best crime fiction being published in the UK and Ireland.

“With a mix of nail-biting psychological thrillers, tense police procedurals and gripping mysteries, this year’s longlist demonstrates the incredible breadth of modern crime fiction.

“We can’t wait to see which books the public side with during voting, and look forward to revealing the winner at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July.”

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles at Voting closes on 26th May, with the shortlist announced and winner voting opening on 14th June.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 longlist

• Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperFiction)
• Tall Bones by Anna Bailey (Doubleday)
• The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan)
• Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway (Constable)
• The Cut by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
• The Less Dead by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
• The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)
• Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly (Hodder & Stoughton)
• I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood (Raven Books)
• True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)
• Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)
• Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
• Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)
• Dead Ground by M. W. Craven (Constable)
• The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (Raven Books)
• Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
• The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)
• The Trawlerman by William Shaw (riverrun)